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October 2022 and moving into 2023…

Despite the very tricky times we have faced since the early part of 2022, Mr Whirly and Whirly wines still persues his passion for wines and trying to find unique wines at lovely prices for its clients, whether private, farm shops, small wine retailers and small restaurants.

But it’s not been easy. The Pandemic virtually killed off my restaurant market, only now beginning to recover and the farm shop market has suffered since the start of the year with the cost of living crisis. So it’s been a year of consolidation in 2022. Having said that I am still here and I am keen in 2023 to re-launch my wine business, travel and find some exciting new wines from the small, beautiful vineyard. In writing this, at Balnakeil Bothy opposite Cape Wrath, without my beloved Dash, whom I miss so very much but this does mean I can now travel to Italy and Spain in early 2023 and source some fabulous wines and write about my adventures in so doing.

In the meantime I have just imported this great wine below, made from the Airèn grape from Aruspide in Valdepeñas in the province of Ciudad Real in Castile- La Mancha. It’s a beautifully complex wine for the money ( it will be at the optimum price point of £10) and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when I tasted it recently.

I will also create some exciting Australian mixed bottle gems for you to order in time for Christmas, combining older wines and the new wines that we imported at the beginning of the year from Passing clouds in Bendigo, 3 Drops in Mount Barker, Brick Kiln in Fleurieu and Lillypilly in Leeton. Please do keep an eye out for them But I shall send out posts too to remind you by email!

Thanks for your continued support, without you I cannot survive so remember shop local and support your local small wine importing business in SW16, South London!

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New wines just arrived from four wine regions and four states in Australia, some old favourites are back in town…..

Mr Whirly started his wine business off by travelling through the vineyards of Australia in 2000, from Margaret river in Western Australia ( and down to the Great Southern near the south west corner of this vast country when 3 Drops is from ) to the Hunter Valley in the south east corner of New South Wales.

It’s therefore a proud moment to say that once again, I go back to the roots of the business and have, after 3 years of barren discoveries due to so many issues with the world, bought over, despite the incredible difficulties with logistics and shipping, some beautifully crafted wines from some old favourite vineyards.

Passing Clouds in Bendigo, Victoria

These wines have always been one of my favourites from Victoria. They will be online soon, there is no rush since the wines are 2020 vintage and will need lots of time cellaring.

Lillypilly, Leeton, New South Wales

Noble Blend 2017: £20.50

2020 Halliday Wine Companion

A blend of Sauvignon blanc and Muscat. Full orange-gold. Lifted ripe apricot, vanilla cream. Candied peel and ginger flavours. Has freshness and line, and just enough of everything except perhaps bottle age. Give it a bit more time to fill out and complex further, but is still very good refined drinking now. 375ml. 12% alc vol

Fiumara 7: £26.85

Halliday Wine Companion

Jane Faulkner Published 01 August 2020
Tawny with a red sheen; very fresh and heady with ginger bread and panettone, hazelnut toffee, soused raisins and baking spices. A brandy flavour to the spirit, the palate is smooth, warming and this is a delight to drink. 375ml.

3 drops in Mount Barker, Great Southern, Western Australia ( New wine! Cabernet Franc 2018 as well as their Shiraz 2018)

Shiraz 2018: £25.75

This elegant Shiraz is deep red coloured. Its luxurious bouquet gives off fruit, spice and pepper fragrances. The palate is full of black cherry, plum and chocolate flavours, with cedary French oak undertones evident in the background. This wine can either be consumed upon release, or be cellared for about 10 years from vintage.

Cabernet Franc 2018 ( new wine to the UK): £22.50

Purple / red with vibrant hues. Rich youthful aromas of blackcurrant. Deep, concentrated wine, which translates to a medium-bodied, intense, beautifully -balanced and framed palate, with ample soft tannins and real harmony of components. A bold, bright, delicious red wine. Drink over the next 7-9 years.

Rob Diletti- winemaker

Reviews & Awards

Brick Kiln, McLaren Vale, South Australia.

Brick Kiln, McLaren Vale

Shiraz 2017: £27.50

“Matured in predominately American oak hogsheads (35% new) for 20 months. Impenetrable inky black core with a dark red black tinged hue. Ripe blackberry and liquorice aromas jump out of the glass followed by toasty vanillin oak, black cherry, earthy fennel and pepper. Full bodied, rich and intense, opulent blackberry, liquorice and black cherry fruits engulf the palate underscored by toasty vanillin oak, earth, spicy fennel and pepper characters. Velvet smooth tannins have good underlying structure. Powerful with a lavish textural feel it concludes long and succulent.” 

Drink over the next 5-15 years.

If you are interested in anything immediately before they go online please write to Mr Whirly at [email protected]

Thanking you for your continued support…..

Mr Whirly

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New Wines from Australia for Christmas….

It’s a great time of year to start to source and look for something really exciting for the festive season, whether it’s for your own personal consumption or as an individual and beautiful gift.

Look not further than here for such inspirations! I have already explained in the previous post about the lovely wines that Mr Whirly has imported from Alcardet in Spain: affordable, and yet well made wines that are “Sustainable” and look after the world and planet. Wines that you can buy direct from Mr Whirly, just please send me an email.

Just arrived this week are some new wines from Australia: its taken a while to get back to my old place, where I started to import wines from, but we have managed to focus on some sensational wines from some small vineyards that I have been working with for close to twenty years now. These wines are from the following vineyards & will be on the Whirly wine website next week for you to buy! If you would like to pre-order please do so at [email protected]

Three Drops, Mount Barker, Western Australia: Cabernet Franc 2018 and Shiraz 2018

Brick Kiln, McLaren Vale, South Australia: Brick Kiln Shiraz 2018

Passing Clouds, Bendigo, Victoria: Graeme’s blend 2018 ( Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz blend, a classic old school wine)

Lillypilly, Leeton, New South Wales; Lillypilly Noble Blend 2018 and Fiumara 7

Below is a press release from Three drops received from the owner, Joanne Bradbury. I am importing a new wine from them this December, their delicious Cabernet Franc

Media Release


3drops from Mt Barker has won one of the world’s most prestigious wine awards for its 2018 Cabernet Franc.

The wine was named Best Red in Show at the invitation only Global Fine Wine Challenge with results announced today.

It also won top trophy honours in the Class 15 – Cabernet Franc in the competition which features the best New World wines.

The competition is restricted to the top 120 wines from each country, including Canada, New Zealand, North America and South Africa.

Global Fine Wine Challenge Director, Ross Anderson said the award to 3drops “is a phenomenal result when you look at the wines they were up against, it is just staggering”.

Mr Anderson said the awards were akin to the Olympics of the global wine industry with countries competing against each other.

The awards, previously known as the Six Nations Wine Challenge (est: 2003) didn’t run last year because of COVID-19 restrictions, but in 2019 was dominated heavily by entries from New Zealand.

The 2019 Wine of Show went to Canada’s 2013 Cuvee Catharine Cart Blanche Blanc de Blanc from Henry Pelham Family Estate.

The 2019 Wine of Show went to Canada’s 2013 Henry of Pelham Family Estate Cuvee Catharine Cart Blanche Blanc de Blanc. The 2019 Red Wine of Show went to America’s Hartford Family Winery Dina’s Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel 2016. New Zealand’s Church Road Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2018 took out the 2019 White Wine of Show.

The last time an Australian wine won Wine of Show was in 2017 when Xanadu Reserve Chardonnay 2015 took out the Chardonnay trophy, White Wine of Show and Wine of Show awards. 

There are no recorded Australian Red Wine’s having ever secured the Red Wine of Show trophy 

Owner of 3drops, Joanne Bradbury, said the award was a credit to the efforts of winemaker Rob Diletti who had been making 3drops wines since 2003 and to viticulturist Ray Williams who planted the original vines and still manages the Wragg Road and Patterson’s vineyards.

Ms Bradbury said the Cabernet Franc trophy and the Best Red of Show were 3drops most significant awards to date.

“We are excited and honoured that a Cabernet Franc grown on our family farm has been selected as the best red wine in the Global Fine Wine Challenge.”

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Cobaw Ridge, Macedon Ranges

 Cobaw Ridge, Macedon Ranges – “ Benchmark Chardonnay and Shiraz/ Viognier, rated 96/100 by James Halliday in his book, Best of the Best of Australia wine 2006. The 1999 vintage of these two wines were the launching pad for Whirly wine in 2003 when I first started importing wines from Australia, yes with just two wines!! These wines were amazing though. I still remember clients faces as they tasted it and their profile formed a smile of wonder and delight. So I have much to thank Alan and Nelly Cooper for in helping me launch Whirly wine and build it up from two wines to what it is today ( 66 at last count.)

Established and owned by Alan and Nelly Cooper in 1985 when the first vines were planted. The soil is Granitic and sandy on warmer northern slopes on the cusp of the great divide, 610 metres above sea level. Positioned in a natural amphitheatre backing onto the Cobaw State forest in the pristine heart of the Macedon Ranges. The wines produced are of an individual character and style. All wines are 100% Estate grown and bottled. Hand picked, pruned and tended. Wines made with passion and crafted with care.

I am indebted to Alan Cooper who gave me the opportunity to import his wines and launch “ Whirly wine” in February 2004. Their 1999 Chardonnay and Shiraz is now finished but his 2003 vintage of Shiraz-Viognier is still available here in the UK. Halliday raved about these wines giving the 2003 Shiraz-Viognier 96/100 in the 2006 edition of his book, the same rating as Grange. Alan Cooper has been the pioneer of La Grein in Australia, which I hope to obtain small parcels of as well as some Pinot Noir for 2007.

For awards and terroir please see

Shiraz Viognier 2003

“ To say that Shiraz loves heat is an understatement. If this is global warming bring it on. Full, but not fat, rich, opulent and dark coloured, filled with spice and minerals. Plush ripe tannins and brooding power but still in balance with our great natural acidity. This is the eighth Shiraz-Viognier we have made and we keep thinking “ we are onto something here!” After such a tough year for the vines to throw up a wine like this it must have something to do with wine age. Maybe it’s the shout of the last teenage year. Blended as fruit with 4% Viognier then co-fermented.”  Cellar 5-8 years.

Alan Cooper, winemaker and co-owner

Rated 96/100 James Halliday, “ Australian wine companion 2006”

In the category, “ Best of the best of Australia wine 2006”

“ Best of the best by variety Shiraz”

“ vivid purple-red; gloriously scented example: vibrant black cherry, raspberry and spice: lively and long; oak eaten by fruit”

Remington Norman, MW London, Author of Rhone renaissance and great domains of Burgundy

“ Deep, firm, opaque youthful colour. Fine, complex, spicy nose-youthful but very promising. Ripe, tight, elegant flavours- long, complex and finely wrought. Little obvious new wood. Well balanced and not over extracted. Mouthwatering flavours and considerable potential. Lovely quality.”

Alc 13.5% vol

Mr Whirly says:

“A wine that continues to amaze, bewilder and excite people. Quite simply, as quirky and Whirly a wine as one should hope to come across. Fresh blackberries, Damson, toffee fruit, tobacco, lemon piff, wild hedgerow fruit, wild black cherries with discreet essences of wild herbs and flowers and medicinal notes. These are a few comments I have gathered together about this wine. It’s not for the unadventurous but it’s definitely for the passionate wine lover. Cool climate Shiraz. Not Australian Shiraz in any way and certainly more European and in particular Cote Rotie in style, from that wonderful appellation in Northern Rhone. Thanks Alan!”

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Passing Clouds, Bendigo

I visited this vineyard in 2000 and also a few years ago with Alan Cooper, as touched upon already on the Cobaw Ridge page. When I arrived here, one afternoon in February 2006 the Shiraz vines were literally hanging in the heat. They were so flacid and past help that to me there was no chance they would survive the remaining summer months. But as Graeme Leith, the wonderful, crystal eyed winemaker tells me, Shiraz vines love heat and no water. These vines are un-irrigated, hence the name “Passing Clouds”, which promotes the fact that the vineyard simply relies on the passing clouds for its water, and they love the lack of water: their roots  delve down deep into the soil and ensure that if there is any moisture down there the vine will somehow grab it.

These people, like Alan Cooper further south, know how to make wine. They are also fabulous people since they are wine lovers, full of passion, organic and wholesome, setting up their vineyards with their own hands, sweat and toil and blood three decades ago and now seeing their hard work pay dividends.. They did it themselves, they lived their dream and for that reason alone, and there are many others too, I admire them wholeheartedly.

Passing Clouds, Bendigo

This is red wine country and in particular Shiraz which accounts for 65% of the red wine crush total.

Winemaker Graeme Leith, has a superb reputation in Victoria for producing wonderful wines. They started planting their vines in 1974 at Kingover, 60 kms northwest of Bendigo. Sheltered by the hills of Ironbark Forest, the valley offers an ideal growing climate for premium red wine. Low rainfall and no irrigation combined with well-drained deep soil, produce small intensely flavoured berries with a richly coloured juice. Passing Clouds is a small, hands on operation using traditional winemaking techniques.

Mr Whirly says:

Graeme’s Blend 2004

This is Graeme Leith’s variation on one of the first and therefore classic blends of two grapes that Australian winemakers like to dabble in: Shiraz predominates and Cabernet follows very quickly behind. I introduced this wine with the 2002 vintage a few years ago in 2006 and it went down a storm. everyone loving that honest, up front taste of fruit that was mature and not overpowering in anyway but voluptuous and rounded in the mouth with a velvet finish in the mouth. Lovely Autumn berry fruits, no tannins, perfectly rounded, this wine epitomises what a Cabernet Shiraz Blend should taste like from Australia. Now almost five years in the bottle this wine is drinking with perfection and after the long wait after the 2002 Vintage sold out a few years ago I expect this wine to also sell though pretty quickly.

” Low yielding, 30 year old dry land vines produce fruit of great intensity. Hand pruned, hand picked and fermented in open vats before maturing in new and one year old oak barrels for 12 months to maximise flavour and complexity.”

Graeme Leith, winemaker


New vintage arrives 2014

Alc: 14.0 %  vol

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TRAVEL PHOTOS FROM 2003-2007 267

The Macedon ranges

Victoria is the smallest yet by far the most exciting and diverse wine state of Australia. The wine regions are numerous and dotted all over the state, very rarely are you not within sixty miles of some vines. I was lucky enough to spend about six weeks in total here in 2000, staying with winemakers and friends I met along the way. I loved the higher regions of the Pyrenees and the Grampians, vineyards like Summerfield and Redbank  (Sally’s Paddock is a particularly good wine) spring to mind as being a little bit special. Mix these in with the more hilly Yarra and Macedon, and the warmer regions of Beechworth, Bendigo, Ballarat and the western Victoria zone where Bee Thomson and her father John make some stunning wines at Crawford river near Condah in the middle of nowhere, and you have a really diverse landscape of wine country. I shall always remember visiting this lovely homestead and meeting the Thomson family. Another wonderful man was Norman Latta at Eastern Peake,  a top Pinot maker at Coghills creek near Ballarat. They were very friendly and warm, like most people I have had the joy of meeting through wine in this great country. In one day I remarked on the diversity of this wine region in my journal:

15th April 2000

“ Up early, can’t sleep in car too long since it gets too hot. Breakfast by road of bacon sandwiches and teas (herbal, easier to make, no milk). At 8.55am at Chateau Leamon, then Blackjack, beautiful valley, leaves turning golden on the vines. Reds a speciality. Wonderful dogs too, one black Labrador and one small doggy. Fed black one some crackers for breakfast. Great shiraz here. When I left black dog looked at me forlornly. Very sad. Coffee at Gonella’s café in Keyneton, Great café. Virgin hills tasting room here, famous wines. Their trio wine was slightly disappointing. Cabernet sauvignon. Then onto Cobaw Ridge and Granite Hills. Welsh countryside like the Brecon Beacons here, winemaker at Granites Hills is called Llew so that makes sense. Across country to Seymour then quickly up to Chateau Tahbilk, great cellars, diversity of country and wines amazing in one day. Victoria is rare for this quality. Mitchelton contrasts so well with Tahbilk. Modern architecture here compared to the old cellars.”

TRAVEL PHOTOS FROM 2003-2007 269

The Macedon ranges and in this case, in particular the ridge around Cobaw just east of Kyneton, high up on the cups of the great divide at over 600 metres, has a micro climate all of its own. I love this country: its rugged, dry farmland reminds me of Mid Wales with all the sheep dotted on the landscape intermingled with boulders of granite rock, except it’s a little brown rather than green here most of the year, of course.  In February 2006, when I was last here, in the middle of the summer, the weather completely unique; wind and rain rolled around the ridge for a couple of days and when Alan and I drove to Passing clouds vineyard near Bendigo, about 100 miles north, the temperature went up from about 20 degrees to 35 degrees! So no, Australia is not one big bowl of heat as some think. This is the coolest wine region on the Australian mainland.

Passing Clouds, Bendigo

Cobaw Ridge, Macedon Ranges